BY WENDELL VIGILIA and RAYMOND AFRICA
VICE President Leni Robredo yesterday rallied members of the Liberal Party to continue fighting for the party’s beliefs and principles despite relentless attacks and threats that the opposition party has been receiving from the Duterte administration.
“The attacks might continue, the threats might become even more formidable but we must find strength in the fact that our every effort takes us a step closer to our vision,” the party’s chairman said in a recorded video message for the LP’s 75th anniversary, which was posted on its Facebook page.
The party vision, Robredo said, is to have a just and free society where all citizens are engaged in “bayanihan” or communal unity and cooperation to help each other.
She said the theme for this year’s anniversary celebration, “Tuloy Lang,” which means to “persist,” is very befitting because of the challenges that the opposition party is facing daily, from being a target of disinformation to the task of helping alleviate the people’s suffering amid the COVID-9 pandemic.
Robredo has consistently been a target of President Duterte, fake news peddlers, and pro-administration internet trolls for being a constant critic of the administration.
The Vice President said the party’s heritage is proof that its members have the persistence to triumph in the face of adversities, citing their role in the dark days of the Marcos regime and the subsequent EDSA “People Power revolution.”
“Tuloy lang, ibig sabihin, persist, tuloy lang sa paninindigan, tuloy lang sa pagpapalawak ng saklaw ng malasakit. Huwag panghihinaan ng loob (Tuloy lang means to persist, continue with our principles, continue with expanding our empathy. We must not lose heart),” she said.
Robredo said the LP still has a lot of jobs left to do such as fighting disinformation, recruiting new members to strengthen the party, and planning more outreach programs amid the pandemic.
Robredo said the LP wants to ensure public participation and so it opened its membership to non-politicians in 2017 and launched “Project Makinig” in the 2019 elections to listen to the public’s sentiments from the grassroots.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, LP president, said the party targets to recruit 75,000 members and volunteers this year to further strengthen the party in preparation for the 2022 national and local elections.
Pangilinan said that when he became LP president in 2016, he started to plant “seeds of hope” based on freedom, righteousness, and for the country.
In 2019, he said, the number of LP chapters nationwide rose to 33, and to 106 as of end of last year.
Pangilinan said the LP also managed to launch social activities to help ease the effects of pandemic through donation drives for personal protective equipment, and distributed relief goods. The the LP also assisted victims of recent natural calamities, he said.
The Liberal Party of the Philippines was founded in 1946 by then Senate President Manuel Roxas, then Senate president pro tempore Elpidio Quirino, and former Sen. Jose Avelino from the breakaway liberal wing of the old Nacionalista Party. The party has also produced four presidents — Manuel Roxas, Elpidio Quirino, Diosdado Macapagal, and Benigno Aquino III.